Successful appeal in brain injury claim revolves around one minute of action | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Successful appeal in brain injury claim revolves around one minute of action

Jane Weakley won at the Court of Appeal recently when the appeal judges overturned an earlier decision that the catastrophic injuries of a baby girl would not have been affected had an obstetric consultant intervened one minute earlier.

The appeal arose out of injuries the claimant suffered around the time of her delivery at East Surrey Hospital. The claimant was born by caesarean section having suffered acute profound hypoxic ischemia (PHI) before, during and following her birth. She suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy with severe global developmental delay. 

It was the claimant’s case that following her mother's admission to the Hospital at 36 weeks, there was a delay in delivery that resulted from a delay in transferring her mother to the labour ward and thereafter a delay in commencing monitoring of her heart rate during delivery. This caused or materially contributed to her injury. 

Jane, on behalf of the claimant, sought to overturn a finding of fact made by the judge at the High Court as to the time at which Miss Nicks, the consultant obstetrician on duty, would have entered the claimant’s mothers' room on the labour ward having heard sounds representing bradycardia coming from the CTG.

The judge in the high court found that notwithstanding negligent delay in managing the labour, Miss Nicks would not have attended to the claimant’s mother any earlier than she in fact did. However, the Court of Appeal judges found that the first judge failed to apply his own findings of fact, which would have found that the claimant could and would with the same consultant in the same place have been delivered 1minute earlier.

Saving one minute of duration of PHI would have avoided some injury. The shorter the duration of PHI, the lower the level of primary injury that would have been suffered by the baby.

The case was remitted to the same judge at the High Court for specific consideration, supported by further expert evidence as to the effect upon the claimant’s injuries and functional disability of a delivery one minute later.

However, Jane was then able to negotiate a seven-figure financial settlement for the claimant, which was approved by Mr Justice Knowles in the High Court in December 2023.

After the hearing, the claimants' parents thanked Jane and her team at Fieldfisher for all their hard work. They said ' we are very relieved and very pleased for our daughter. There have been ups and downs. but we eventually pulled through. This has been a special journey and not one that will be forgotten. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts'.

Jane Hadfield – Executive Assistant

Jessie Brown – Litigation Support Assistant.

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For further information about cerebral palsy claims and birth injury claims, please call Jane Weakley on 0330 460 6773 or email


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Birth Injury Claims